New York TImes covers the story.


Hey James O’Keefe! Here’s how you punk the media:

If we had to get punked, we’re glad it was by the Yes Men, who have quite a track record of pulling really convincing stunts. Their slightly off URL, www.chevron-press.com, was a spitting-image spoof of the real www.chevron.com. Also, Yes Men hucksters clearly watch Mad Men as often as we do and were riding high from Don Draper’s nuclear-option “Why I’m Quitting Tobacco” letter in the New York Times.

Yes Men’s version involved an ad with a smiling elderly indigenous man wearing a bandana, with the words “OIL COMPANIES SHOULD CLEAN UP THEIR MESSES,” along with a red stamp that reads “We Agree”–followed by the signatures of Chevron higher-ups. The ad was supposed to be a reference to a years-long lawsuit in Ecuador, where Chevron is accused of being responsible for $27 billion of oil pollution clean-up costs. Chevron.com refers to the Ecuadorian lawsuit as “a meritless case”; according to the Christian Science Monitor , Chevron has taken out quarter-page newspaper ads with defensive headlines like “the fraud of the century.” Nevertheless, Ecuadorians appeared to be the heroes of Chevron’s new ad campaign. It was fake, we now know.

Well, don’t feel so bad: you weren’t alone! Advertising Age also fell for the hoax, as did AFP and some online energy journals.

Chevron is not amused:

SAN RAMON, Calif., Oct. 18, 2010 – Earlier today, a group of environmentalists cyber-posing as Chevron officials illegally spoofed Chevron’s just-launched “We Agree” advertising campaign. While such a campaign does exist, its official URL is Chevron.com/weagree. The advertisements released earlier today, at Chevron-weagree.com, were an elaborate subterfuge and must not be mistaken as real.

“Chevron does not take this attack lightly,” said Hewitt Pate, General Counsel for Chevron. “We invest extremely heavily in our campaigns, and we take them extremely seriously. Such actions can never be tolerated.” Though the exact cost of “We Agree” must remain confidential, Chevron routinely spends $90 million per year on US advertising alone.

Pate also noted that the environmentalists have made libellous allegations regarding Chevron’s record and obligations in Ecuador and beyond. “Despite what some will say, we are not obliged to abide by decisions that Ecuadorian judges make or do not make. This is because we have binding agreements with the Ecuadorian Government exempting us from any liabilities whatsoever, granted in exchange for a $40 million cleanup of some wells by Texaco in the 1990s.”

See! That totally proves that they didn’t do anything wrong! Nothing whatsoever! Because Chevron cares! And they proved it by signing a binding agreement with the government of Ecuador to clean up some wells. Problem solved! Agree?

Last year the Yes Men punk’d the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by holding a fake press conference. In 2007 they posed as executives from ExxonMobil at an oil industry conference.

A Real Chevron Press Release. Accept No Substitutes.


Filed under Big Oil, Chevron, the yes men

3 responses to “>Punk’d

  1. >The Yes Men save the world yet again. My favorite was when they posed as guys from Dow Chemical promising to make the victims of the Bhopal Union-Carbide disaster whole again on a BBC broadcast. Everyone in the room seemed to agree that it was the right thing to do.While it is great fun to smear egg all over the faces of greed and heartlessness, we can't lose sight of the terrible human and environmental costs involved.

  2. >Gawd, I have never put O'Keefe and the Yes Men "together" before. It's so obvious and apt–maybe I've been paying too much attention to the Beltway Inbreds, to whom the Yes Men mean nothing.Like Fox's "The Half Hour News Hour", O'Keefe is a cake that can't be fixed with frosting. How many other left-wing things do right-wingers want to "get one of them for our side" of?

  3. >How many other left-wing things do right-wingers want to "get one of them for our side" of?Pretty much all of it. If they had an original thought it would die of loneliness.It ties in with my "Bob Roberts" thread … Teanuts co-opted the language and signs and the methods of the '60s protests to suit their own ends as well.I mean jeez. Come up with your own ideas for a change, y'know?